It’s surprising that the pro-Iranian lobby don’t seem to have caught on to one of the Iranian Navy’s most James Bond like weapons; the
submersible boat. But since the same community also overlooks the potent threat of Iran’s substantial fleet of stealth torpedo boats, maybe it’s
As always I will remain politically unbiased. But I do think that Iran’s innovative application of military technology deserves more respect and
recognition. And the asymmetrical threat posed should be taken more seriously than many pro-US/Anti-Iran people give it.
One of the torpedo boats sometimes seen on Iranian TV News is not consistent with any known class/type. The design is not stealthy and does not appear
to rise out of the water like a typical speed boat suggesting that it is slower than most Iranian fast attack craft – such as the “China Cat”
class. In face of these apparent inferiorities relative to major Iranian fast attack craft projects (the stealth boats and the China Cat), it seems
odd that this recent design is has been developed. The design does however have several features which point to a key attribute not shared by any
publicly known Fast Attack Craft operational anywhere in the world: submergibility.
The craft is armed with two lightweight torpedo tubes and could use its submersible capability to ambush enemy surface vessels. It would only submerge
a few meters (the relatively thin Perspex hatch gives this away) and would only travel slowly submerged. In a littoral environment it would be
relatively difficult to detect.
Its main weaknesses are its relatively basic targeting capability (assumed) and comparatively light firepower. But with the advantage of surprise, it
poses a serious threat to even the best equipped warship.
Another factor to consider is on moral of the enemy. Watching for an enemy that you cannot see until shortly before an attack, whilst all the time
expecting imminent ambush, can cause you to expend a great deal of time and resources chasing shadows. This is an advantage of asymmetrical warfare
– the “footprint” of the submersible boat is far greater than its actual size.
9-12 seconds into this www.youtube.com...
video clip there is footage of what appears to be the same craft pictured above
launching a torpedo. The footage is followed immediately by footage of a Shkval
rocket torpedo being launched.
I do not believe that the footage of the Shkval launch is from the submersible boat:
The North Korean link
North Korea is known to have various submersible boats which it uses for infiltration of spies into South Korea, and in times of open war for special
A popular image of a North Korean submersible boat:
The N’Korean’s are not thought to arm these craft with torpedo.
There have been many accusations that North Korea has provided arms assistance to Iran, not least by the CIA. Some of these accusations appear to have
been incorrect, and China is by far a greater supplier of key military technology to Iran than North Korea is, but links between the two countries are
pretty well known. Whether Iran has got this technology from North Korea can only be speculated, but the notion does seem credible.